Body Image


Recently, I have become acutely aware of the fact that I have gained weight over the last several months. (You know it’s bad when even your stretchy yoga clothes start feeling a little tight.) A lot of things have contributed to this weight gain, among them, age and not being as active as I used to be. Because I am in no way fat, and am healthy and strong at my present weight I have been having a huge internal battle with myself.

Part of me is completely freaked out by the weight gain. I do not like what I see when I look in the mirror. The spreading out, the jiggling…how did I let that happen?!? A little voice in my head is screaming: Why haven’t you changed your diet? Why haven’t you been going to the gym and working out every day? This is unacceptable!

The rational part of me knows that I haven’t gained that much weight. I’m only 5’4 and have a small frame so even 5 lbs can make a difference. I am no longer interested in restricting what I eat or cutting things out of my diet. I juice, make smoothies, eat salads, and cook most things from scratch at home. I am also going to have the baguette with olive oil or ice cream when I feel like it. I am not interested in going to the gym for hours every day or taking really intense fitness classes. My body has endured a lot of wear and tear from being a dancer, most of my joints hurt all the time. I’m choosing the gentle yoga or Gyrotonic class over anything with the word bootcamp in it.

And yet, in this image-based society and working in a profession where I have lots of students looking at my body in form-fitting clothing every day, it is hard not to feel self-conscious, and even a little embarrassed by my body as it is right now. I find beauty and strength in each and every one of my students, no matter what size or shape their physical bodies are. I work privately with women who are so ashamed of their bodies and worried about what other people might think that they will not go to classes or the gym – it breaks my heart.

I feel stronger than I ever have. I have muscles and strength where I never thought I would. Sure, I have limitations based on chronic injuries, but I am content with what I can do. Am I going to switch up my weekly exercise routine to tone up and slim down a little? Yes. Am I going to eat a few more salads and a few less burritos? Possibly. Am I going to freak out over the fact that I now wear a size small install of an extra-small? No. After decades of not appreciating my body and loving it as it was, I am going to choose to accept my body as it is…as hard as that may be at times. After all, look what I can do!




About DjunaPassman

I practice and teach yoga. I attempt to carry what I learn on my mat and through my students into the real world. Sometimes I am successful and sometimes I am grumpy and less than kind. I started life as a dancer, moved on to choreographing, worked as a dance/movement therapist, then realized the wonders of a regular yoga practice. I am a realist - whether the glass is half full or half empty you are bound to spill its contents if you are wearing white (this is why I wear black so often). I am not an expert on yoga, life, or anything else for that matter. I do my best to keep my mind and my heart open every day (some days are better than others).
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5 Responses to Body Image

  1. Cara says:

    Wonderful post. I commend you and know exactly how you feel, although my struggles are more XL. LOL. I am proud of you and thank you because perhaps with this I can allow myself some grace as well.

  2. MuslimYogini says:

    Thank you for the beautiful message! I have been steadily gaining weight lately and facing similar internal battles. Trying to focus on strength not shape 🙂

    • DjunaPassman says:

      You look beautifully vibrant and strong in all the pictures in you Asana Gallery. Feeling strong and grounded are more important than size, but that ca be so hard to embrace at times.

      • MuslimYogini says:

        Thank you for your kind words 🙂 It can be hard to embrace, but it definitely helps to have the support and wisdom of yoginis like yourself ❤

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